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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Curator of Rare Books
609-258-9942

Chronologies are defined as documents which list dates, time periods, or events in chronological order. Timelines are a type of chronology, in graphic linear form, either vertical or horizontal. The General Rare Books Department (Ex) has acquired a number of these, many as an adjunct to the History of Education collection. The visual nature of the chronology allows a student to see the progression of events in a well-organized, visual manner, something students today take for granted. To quickly see some of the Library's holdings of these charts, go the Main Catalog, use the 'Guided Search' function, enter 'chronology' into the first query box and 'chart' into the second box, then click the search button.

The Stream of time: Intended for young persons (London, 1844) is a printed strip, rolled onto a wooden roller, mounted in book-shaped box. The Library's online catalogue contains a digital image.

In 2004, the Department collected a group of related items. Friedrich Strass's Der Strom der Zeiten (Wien, 1804) is a chronological chart, together with two booklets that describe the contents of the chart. A Descriptive guide of Strass's chart, by William Bell, is an English language translation and expansion of the original work, and published in 1812.

An unusual example is the universal chronicle by John Georg Hagelgans, the Atlas historicus, in which Hagelgans replaced written words by a succession of diminutive narrative drawings arranged in columns. See the article by Walter Goffart, "The front matter of J. G. Hagelgans's 1718 Atlas historicus at Princeton University Library and the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, Jerusalem," in the Princeton University Library Chronicle LXIV, 1 (Autumn 2002) pp. 141-162.

See also Stephen Ferguson, " The 1753 Carte chronographique of Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle, LII, 2 (Winter 1991) pp. 190-230. See also the article on this topic to be published in June 2009: Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt, "Barbeu-Dubourgs Lernmaschine," in Bildwelten des Wissens: Kunsthistorisches Jahrbuch für Bildkritik.

See also Anthony Grafton, "Dating History: the Renaissance & the reformation of chronology" in Daedalus, 132, 2 (Spring 2003) pp. 74-85.